For many years I suffered from sugar addiction and didn't know it. As far back as I can remember I had an unhealthy relationship with sweets and junk food. Whenever I had any, I could never leave over for tomorrow no matter how much there was. I stole, I hid and I lied about food even though I felt bad about it. I always wanted more and there was never enough as far as I was concerned.
Throughout the years I called myself “pleasantly plump” but inside I always felt fat and yearned to lose those 5kg (10 pounds) that would give me that nice figure and all would be right in the world. Another myth I mistakenly believed.
My sugar addiction really took off after my first son was born and continued to progress to the age of 32. As a nurse I read and learned all I could abut good nutrition, yet I was completely incapable of applying all that wonderful knowledge on myself. Ove time, the occasional binge turned into stuffing myself 3-4 times a week and finally into non-stop eating all day. I never felt hungry and never felt full. I just felt like I need to eat, all the time. Each year I gained more weight and by the age of 32, "pleasantly plump" had turned into unpleasantly borderline obesity.
I couldn’t understand what’s wrong with me. I was a successful woman in so many areas of my life – marriage, career, family, and yet in the one area that I wanted most to succeed I was an utter failure. I pretended it didn’t matter that I’m fat and managed to fool everyone except me.
One day a new doctor who came to work in our clinic told me that she is addicted to food like others are addicted to drugs.
This was my "Aha!" moment. This lightbulb went on in my head. "Yes! That’s me." I thought, "I am a junk food junkie - there is such a thing!" I began looking for a solution to my addiction rather than weight loss.
I eventually found a 12-step program for compulsive overeating. I learned to abstain from my "drug foods", took a sponsor, did service, and began my journey to recovery from sugar and food addiction. For the first time I managed to lose and maintain a 15kg weight loss but the real prize was the freedom from obsession and the inner peace I had regarding food and my eating behavior and I began helping others in their recovery.
Over time I realized that some people need or prefer professional treatment to recover. I personally had friends who had died or were severely sick due to their sugar/food addiction and wondered if professional help could have made a difference for them.
I began to dream of being that professional. First, I dreamt, then I read, then I researched, then I travelled the world to learn from other food addiction professionals. I became certified as a Food Addiction Counselor, trained in the professional sugar/food addiction assessment tool SUGAR©, formally trained in 12 step recovery for professionals, and I joined the board of directors of the Food Addiction Institute. My colleague Molly Painschab and I formed and now co-chair the first international working group of professional sugar and food addiction counselors. I lecture to medical staff and general audiences on the addictive nature of hyper-processed foods, how to be healthier by changing the food environment and about sugar/food addiction.
I created an effective, holistic and science-based program called the GPS Program (link to that part of the site) to help people live a life of food-freedom. Is this possible? You bet! The best part is that there are so many ways to get there, which means everyone can find the right path with the right professional guidance. Let me show you the way.